Even with missing a huge chunk of his 2019 season due to ankle injury, Jonathon Cooper’s career at Ohio State is sizable. The LB has two years as team captain, two all-Big Ten Conference nominations, and an Academic All-Big Ten award under his belt.
He’s got some pretty good stats, too. According to Sports Reference, he recorded 77 tackles (15 for loss), ten QB sacks, two pass breakups, a forced fumbles, and a blocked kick.
The Broncos selected Cooper at pick 239 (Round 7) and now he’s heading to Denver to play linebacker. He talked to some reporters after the decision was made, and answered some questions about his college career and what’s next for him.
Unsurprisingly, he already has an established comradery with Baron Browning, fellow OSU linebacker. “Me and Baron are really close,” he said, adding that he can’t wait to reunite with him.
“I’m pretty sure we are going to have a lot of conversations and Denver did a great thing with getting two Buckeyes,” he continued, “They got two great players. Just ready to get after it with him.”
Cooper didn’t say he necessarily expected the Broncos to draft him, but they did show interest. At any rate, he’s very happy they chose him.
Browning isn’t the only one he’s excited to play with, though; the Broncos also have Super Bowl 50 champ Von Miller and Pro Bowler Bradley Chubb to mentor him, and he’s fully aware of how much he can learn.
“I plan to pick their brains completely and see how they do everything,” Cooper said, “With a rookie coming in and to have great, veteran guys who have been in the league for a long time, I just want to be able to learn and apply whatever I can learn to my game.”
Cooper said he wants to become the best player he can be for the Broncos. This is also unsurprising, considering he was the first at Ohio State to ever wear a Block O jersey. He explained the meaning of that and what having that honor meant to him, saying, “The Block O basically represents all of Ohio State.”
He elaborated that the jersey is for someone who represents the program’s culture and leadership. “It was chosen by the coaching staff and my peers, and it was a great honor to have,” he said, adding that he will cherish it for the rest of his life.
Cooper is also familiar with special teams play, saying it was the foundation to start his career and that he did a lot of it in the beginning.
“I feel like special teams is the groundwork to start out your career,” he clarified, “That’s how it was at Ohio State, so I am definitely accustomed to playing special teams.”
No player is without room for improvement, and Cooper admitted the thing he needs to work on and has been working on is “being comfortable with dropping back in space.”
Vic Fangio is aware of this setback, but he’s a fan of the linebacker’s “make-up” and what he brings as a team player. He also noted that at Ohio State, Cooper simply wasn’t “out in space” enough to get a handle on it.
“That is a big transition for a lot of these guys,” Fangio explained, “We like the make-up...when you have that kind of make-up, you can fight through and not get too discouraged.”
Cooper reiterated his excitement at moving to Denver and joining the team, calling the feeling “surreal.”
“I can’t wait to be a part of Denver with Baron. I just can’t wait,” he said, “I know that they are going to get an amazing player who is going to give it everything that they’ve got. I feel blessed right now.”
Cooper isn’t the only one celebrating, either. After his name was called, the kids in his neighborhood stopped by to see him. Ohio State re-tweeted the heartwarming video.
I’m ready to see what Cooper’s going to do and where his career will go from here. Best of luck to him, and to the entire Broncos defense of 2021.
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